Holding Schools Accountable

One of the hardest parts about writing a weekly column is deciding what topic I want to cover. Oftentimes it's easy enough to just go with the conversation du jour in our country, or expounding on a legislative initiative I am working on. However, this week I want to try something different. I want to share with you a piece that I read in U.S. News & World Report on reinventing our national education system. The author raises some thought provoking points, some of which I agree with and others I don't. I am curious to hear your thoughts on what the author lays out, so let me know what you think.

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Original Article by David Osborne on U.S. News & World Report

Because Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act last December, states are revamping their federally required systems to measure school quality and hold schools accountable for performance. But most are doing so using outdated assumptions, holdovers from the industrial era, when cookie-cutter public schools followed orders from central headquarters and students were assigned to the closest school.

Today we are migrating toward systems of diverse, fairly autonomous schools of choice, some of them operated by independent organizations. Before revising their measurement and accountability systems, states need to rethink their assumptions. . .

Read full article


Which of the major points from the article do you agree with? Which ideas do you oppose? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!
  1. We need accountability systems that focus on more than minimal standards and treat different schools differently.

  2. We need systems that make accountability real by replacing failed schools with proven models.

  3. Our accountability systems should emphasize student growth more than achievement levels.

  4. States should quit using "proficient" as the only target.

  5. States should construct their systems as works in progress to be adjusted as they learn how to objectively and reliably use student surveys and measure deeper learning, character skills and other important aspects of school performance.

  6. We need an ideal statewide accountability system.


Showing 3 reactions

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  • commented 2016-10-17 08:16:23 -0400
    Have you looked at how our DOE is managing this process? According to them, 17 internal working groups and 1 stakeholder group are laboring to complete this plan. The DOEs credibility with many stakeholders is poor, given their ability to ignore the public during their fruitless exercises like the Study Commission on Assessments and the Common Core reboot. ESSA requires public participation, particularly on the issues of accountability and assessments. Yet, our DOE has doubled down on PARCC and its importance in teacher evaluations. Shouldn’t these decisions been made after the public has had a chance to learn about ESSA and weigh in? In addition, the DOE has chosen the March 2017 deadline to submit their plan. They could have selected the July 2017 deadline. Why? Ask regular folks what they know about ESSA. They don’t know much. Again, the DOE fails to engage and connect with the public. They just can’t seem to help themselves.
  • commented 2016-10-13 14:57:02 -0400
    Schools should be accountable but every time the standards are met, they are raised. All schools should have flexibility, not just charters. Public schools are held to much higher standards than charters and that is not right. Also, public schools have to accept ALL students, charters/private schools do not. Designs for schools should not be created by lawyers, doctors and politicians who do not realize how schools operate. If you want input, more people with education experience should be included in the decision making process. I notice that politicians never take into account the background of the students; if they did, schools would look much different than they do today. The only object considered is money and no one wants to fund education the way it should be funded.
  • commented 2016-10-13 14:18:02 -0400
    Clearly, schools need to be evaluated and be held accountable, along with its faculty. However, test scores should not be the only barometer. The arts, as well as physical education, are being cut back or eliminated while programs to improve test scores are dominating the daily schedule. In fact, Superintendents receive bonuses in the form of merit pay, often based upon improved test scores, further pressuring faculty to teach to the test.
    I would prefer a school based program which molds a well rounded child who appreciates the arts, is physically fit, and can read….And an evaluation system that is truly based upon a 360 degree model.
    Matt Ernandes
    Mount Laurel